31 July 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Transcription Needed

My dear mothers gave me a lot of records when I took over as the research 'guru' of the family. I'll admit that I probably should have asked a lot more questions regarding her research. Nevertheless, I didn't and know I'm stumped.

I have this little nugget stapled to a piece of paper. I have no idea what it says. I could be written in German, yet many words look English. There appears to be a date as well of perhaps 22 July 1833.

Anyway, I'm posting this in hopes that someone could help me figure out what it says and perhaps what it might mean.

Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community's resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

19 July 2011

Tech Tuesday: Clean Up Genealogy OnLine

I must be such a novice genealogist. I guess besides the patience I have for waiting for new discoveries, I'm also patient as I'm learning. So, if you haven't seen this really cool pot, you should check it out.

It's called Cleaning Up Your OnLine Family Trees. I have wanted to narrow down the trees that I have been connect with as a contact person. Plus, I've wanted to remove trees online that did not have any source information. I found this website helpful and have been able to remove some of my outdated family tree information online. Yeah! I don't want to be responsible for passing along poor quality information simply because I switched services and didn't notify the previous service.

Anyway, check it out if you're new to genealogy.

Tech Tuesday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community's resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

16 July 2011

Thank You

I just wanted to thank everyone who visits my blog. I often check to see if anyone comments and find they might be fewer than I hoped. I love connecting with people but I have learned that I should measure my efforts by the comments that may or may not have been posted.

It's been fun to see which posts have had the most traffic:

So... my most popular posts have a trend. Tech Tuesday! And perhaps, that's where my trend is right now. Sharing what I've learned as well as asking questions in hopes that I can learn more.

Whenever I feel like I'm not reaching anyone with this blog, I like to review my page views and see where people are going. Thank you for visiting my little piece of cyberspace and I hope you'll come back often!

12 July 2011

Tech Tuesday: Family Search Indexing Accuracy

I love feedback. I really like indexing records. Guess what! The Family Search Indexing has given me both with their new accuracy feedback measurement widget.

I started indexing late last year. It was tough at first, but I think I got the hang of it. I worked on US Census records primarily because I'm most familiar with those records. When given a choice of records, I often chose the state of Ohio. Most of my ancestors were from the state. Though I didn't really believe I'd come across my names, I liked thinking I was helping people from my ancestor's home state. When Ohio wasn't an option, I indexed the records of highest priority. I'll admit I really liked indexing the WW II draft cards the most. I loved the printed handwriting rather than the various difficult cursive scripts I encountered.

Within recent months, the Ontario, Canada Birth Records was made available. My Zumstein relatives are from Ontario and I was excited to work on these records. I'll admit to hoping that I'd come across my ancestor's births, but I never did. However, I really enjoyed working on the marriage project. It was more challenging than the US Census and War Draft cards. I loved how some of the older records included very little information on the records and more recent records included a lot more detail.

According to the Family Search widget, I've indexed about 1,800 names. Since the batches are designed to be done in 30-40 minute blocks and many records have 30 some names, that puts the number into perspective. Nevertheless, I'm glad to have been able to do this work in my free time rather than play video games.

Despite this large number, I kept wondering how I was doing. I know sometimes I couldn't read something and marked it as unreadable. But, with what I was able to read, I really wanted to know if I was helping the indexing program or not.

On July 7, 2011, the Family Search Indexing website created an new widget called Accuracy Feedback that helps measure the accuracy of my contributions. Unfortunately, it only shows the last 90 days of work. I can't really tell how I did on the previous projects. I only know how I've done on the most recent ones.

My current rating regarding work on the Ontario Birth records and the Franklin County, Ohio Marriage records is 94%. What's really cool is that you can see a side by side comparison of what you entered and the changed values from an arbitrator. That's cool. On my worst record, my mistakes were one letter different. A few of the changes made by the arbitrator makes sense but I couldn't see it when I was indexing. A few of the changes, I disagree with and I could make a feedback note. It won't change the record but I could leave a note. Nevertheless, I think it's really a cool feature. It's nice to know I'm not doing so bad.

So... if you've thought about indexing, give it a try. You'll be able to receive feedback to boost your spirits or 'training' through comparisons which will help you improve.

Tech Tuesday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community's resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

09 July 2011

Surname Saturday - Zumstine Family

German names are quiet challenging to find in Census records. The last name Zumstine has been quite challenging. For one, no family member can agree on how the end of the name should be spelled... Zumstine, Zumstien, Zumstein?

Add to that the fact that many government document records are written in terrible hand writing and the search for this family name gets even more complicated. When I was searching in Canadian Census records for the last name, I found the last name spelled Zumptine. Okay, I can see where the last name might have a p in the name if you hear it spoken.



I couldn't find the family of Robert Walter Zumstein in the 1881 Census. He would have been in the family of his father Henry as he didn't marry Adeline Snyder until 1894. I found Heny Zumpzine, age 38, in the 1871 Canadian Census in the Gainsborough township of Lincoln, Ontario, Canada. Since the Library and Archives Canada database search, doesn't have a soundex search feature, I was stumped as to how to find the family in Ontario fr the year 1881. I tried a similar search on Ancestry.com but did not come up with anything close to the relatives I was searching for. What was going on?

I decided to do a genealogy trick that I've heard about but had not tried before. I looked at the 1871 Canadian Census for a neighbor with a common name that could be easily interpreted even if the handwriting was terrible. The neighbor I selected was George Snyder. I could have chose Jane Vaugh or Israel Snyder as well. I figured I'd try each of these names until I had exhausted them all.

George Snyder was the ticket! I entered George Snyder, b 1831, into the Ancestry.com website and found one listed in Gainsborough, Lincoln, Ontario in 1881. When I clicked to view the original record, I scrolled down two families and found one with a promising name... Paul Swinstine. I thought, perhaps the transcriber wasn't able to understand the handwriting. Perhaps the Census recorder couldn't understand the German name. I looked forward and determined that Paul was Henry's brother as his wife's name and the children I know of are listed as well.

I looked one family further and found a Henry Swinstine. After further inspection, I have determined that yes, this is my Henry Zumstine.


I can see where the transcriber saw Swinstine. They're not familiar with the last name. It also looks like Sumstine. So now, I have new name spellings to search for and have used a 'old standby' technique to find my missing family members.

Surname Saturday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community's resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

06 July 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: Sharing My Research Follow-up!

I'm sitting here doing a happy dance of sorts. In late May, I mailed off several packets of family history research to Geiszler and Zumstein relatives that I know of but don't know well. I shared my hopes in Treasure Chest Thursday: Sharing My Research that by sending the packets I could open new doors to my research.

Well, perhaps this is premature, but I just received an email from one of the Zumstein relatives. She's willing to connect and share her family's information. I hope that we can figure out a way to share stories during her free time. I look forward to learning more about her parents, the aunt and uncle to my father!

When positive feedback to our queries come, I think it's worth celebrating. I sure will. I look forward to seeing what this distant cousin and I can pull together. Of course, I'll be happy to share these treasures on my blog!

Treasure Chest Thursday is a daily blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers, the genealogy community's resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.

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